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Press Releases

Leading Electrical Associations Sign Historic Cross-Industry Agreement to Form Strategic Alliance

Agreement Formalizes Alignment Across the Electrical Industry to Electrify America’s Economy

May 23, 2024

AUSTIN, TX - The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED), and National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association (NEMRA) announced a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU) that recognizes the necessity of a collaborative approach to address the challenges and opportunities of their respective but interconnected industries. NECA’s CEO David Long along with NAED’s President and CEO Wes Smith, NEMA’s Debra Phillips, and NEMRA’s Jim Johnson signed the agreement at the end of a panel discussion at the NAED National Meeting in Austin, Texas on May 22, 2024. Rich Stinson, NEMA Board President and President and CEO of Southwire, moderated the panel discussion, titled “Project Spotlight: Cross Industry Collaboration”.

The MOU is accompanied by an annual “Work Plan,” which in 2024 will focus on issues related to developing the electrical industry workforce of the future. More specifically, those issues include reducing project cycle time across target industries through all stages of the electrical installation cycle, recruit and retain the skilled workforce needed to support the electrical industry, as well as laying the foundation for grid expansion to secure the nation’s future.

While attracting the personnel is important, this agreement puts in place the strategy to educate and develop people into workers who will usher society into a more connected, digitized future. The demand is there, but the sufficient amount people to manufacture, distribute, and install electrical products is not.

Legislative advocacy is imperative for these collaborative efforts to succeed. These four associations plan to expand off of NECA’s already established presence on Capitol Hill to ensure the electrical industry has the necessary support to electrify America.  

“I am thrilled to be a part of this historic cross-industry partnership to promote and strengthen the electrical industry, from the manufacturing of tools and technology to the installation and operation of those resources,” said NECA CEO David Long. “This collaborative effort is more than just a partnership; it's a strategic imperative to ensure the strength and sustainability of our industry. As we stand alongside NEMA, NAED, and NEMRA, we are not only preparing to meet the increased demand for electrical infrastructure but are also taking significant steps towards building a resilient, skilled workforce that can propel us into a future where electrification is at the forefront. This MOU is a milestone in our journey to innovate and lead in an all-electric economy, and I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for developing our workforce through shared initiatives and resources."

“Our industry is perfectly positioned to lead in Electrifying America, and we will,” Wes Smith, President and CEO of NAED said. “This joint initiative represents an unprecedented business opportunity for distributors, manufacturers, their agents and the contractors we all serve. It also represents an opportunity to change the way we power business, industry, transportation and our homes. Our members know how we can best accomplish these challenges and we look forward to acting as a key resource for policymakers and end users as they navigate the challenges inherent in such a major transformation.”

“I am thrilled to sign this agreement that represents our industry’s growing collaboration and focus on the future. The electrical sector is a powerful force made even stronger when we work together,” said Debra Phillips, President and CEO, NEMA. “This is a pivotal time for electrical manufacturers, as AI, EVs, and emerging renewable technologies fuel increasing demand for the electrical equipment NEMA members make. A modern workforce is vital if we are to meet the needs of this future energy system. The upcoming generation of energy workers holds the key to ensuring domestic manufacturing remains a vibrant economic force in communities across the United States, and I am pleased to work with my industry colleagues on solutions to achieve that goal.”

“I am very proud to represent NEMRA, and its members on this momentous day,” said Jim Johnson, NEMRA President and CEO. “This alliance signifies a historic event that will propel the progress of America's future electrical infrastructure. It marks a noteworthy step in establishing a scalable, sustainable, and secure future for the electrical industry. By harnessing the collective strength of our exceptional talent, we will expedite and drive innovation that will not only support the present but also future generations”.

NECA offers members various resources to aid in workforce recruitment, education and development criteria, business development commentary, and industry research. Find all of these resources at